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The Ideal Assessment Tracking Regime?

In various blog posts and twitter exchanges I have critiqued several widely used approaches to assessment tracking and reporting.   Reasons for my critique include the following: Forcing teachers across very different disciplines to morph their organic, authentic subject specific assessments – including wide-ranging quality and difficulty models – into a common grading system at an … Continue reading

Major Teaching Myth: “Always ask before you tell”

Short post: Having seen this going on a lot, I tweeted this yesterday and it seemed to resonate with people: A widespread ingrained teaching myth: "Always ask before you tell". This frequent exchange can be absurd and painful. Anyone know..(the secret thing I know).? Anyone…..?No….? No, not quite… No, that's not it…. Good guess…Actually it's…… … Continue reading

Edu-shaming starts with Ofsted Grading

Just reflecting on the recent debate about school shaming, it seems to me that the biggest culprit in the whole issue got away lightly: Ofsted Grading. I’ve been in a school-shaming situation at the hands of local papers several times at various different schools.  Once, one student’s dad died in tragic circumstances.  He went to … Continue reading

Three powerful steps to deeper understanding and better recall. Specify; check; apply.

This post is based on my observations of teachers over the last few months and the common areas for development that emerge in feedback discussions.  It is also informed by the ideas of Rosenshine and Shimamura around effective teaching for understanding and recall.  My aim is to try to describe highly actionable strategies for putting … Continue reading

How not to misfire.. exploring the learning process with Henry VIII

Having written about lessons that mis-fire, I was asked to suggest what people should do instead. That’s a mighty big task because, what you might do depends on what exactly you want students to know and, in any specific example, there are countless possibilities.   However, given that a lot of my mis-fire examples are about gathering … Continue reading

Lessons that misfire. Good intentions + bad theory = poor results.

I am in the privileged position of having been able to observe a lot of lessons taught across a range of subjects in different contexts.  I’ve also taught thousands of lessons myself  – and I know how it feels for things to work well and not so well.  Where lessons could be improved there are … Continue reading

Introducing MARGE: A superb ebook about learning by Arthur Shimamura.

Earlier this week, twitter sharing came into its own with a glorious gift.  Dan Willingham shared a link to a new, free ebook from Arthur Shimamura – downloadable here.   I picked this up via one of  Ollie Lovell’s regular info updates.   It’s a gem. Shimamura, a professor of psychology specialising in memory and cognition has … Continue reading

Great Teaching. The Power of Diets

In so many discussions about the elements of effective practice in teaching, I feel it’s important to move away from thinking in absolute terms about whether certain approaches are more effective than others towards considering what the optimum combination of approaches with different qualities might be.  I’ve made this case in various blogs before including … Continue reading

Common Maths Struggles – some examples.

This combines a couple of old posts that I recently revisited – because the challenges remain!  Working with teachers from primary to FE, I’ve found it fascinating to consider the areas of maths that students find difficult and the processes we need to consider when teaching them to overcome these difficulties.  It seems to me … Continue reading

Solutions and reality checks in the exclusion/inclusion debate. #pinballkids

The RSA Pinball Kids Initiative. There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about exclusions from schools with a string of newspaper articles exploring the theme: The news of rising fixed-term and permanent exclusions is covered by The Guardian here. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jul/19/sharp-rise-in-pupil-exclusions-from-english-state-schools This report describes some responses – the ‘Wild West system of exclusion … Continue reading

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